What this seems to be:

$40 miilion dollars is being spent by K-Street professionals to tell the American people that the disaster of the U.S. health care system is due to the for-profit private insurance companies. That is a good thing, right? Heck, when I first saw the print Ad I thought it WAS a single payer group. It is single payer language about the failure and evil of the for profit private insurance companies. But then they chicken out on their remedy. David and Don’s critique below are completely correct as a matter of policy. But since HCAN is not really making a call to action, policy is not what this is about.

What it really is:

Where is the money coming from and why is it going to this campaign that does not actually have a specific call to action? The official message from on high is that HCAN is grassroots. Yup $40 million bucks, top down pre-determined pre-compromised message by K-Steet establishment. Nicely done professional Ads. Paid staffers sent out on-message from central office. But we are told its grassroots. So says Ezra Klein. So says David Sirota (who really should know better). Well HCAN is many things. It is a lot of money beng spent with our message that the for-profit private insurance companies are the problem. But grassroots it obviously is not! Sheesh. These are grassroots!

What it really is, is about building mailing lists and fundraising and get-out-the vote for November. It is a $40 million investment in party organizing. Think of it as the Democratic messaging counterpart to the National Rifle Association. In addition, the campaign is going to take advantage of MoveOn.org’s massive data files to reach out to like-minded supporters and officials promised to work in Democratic and Republican districts alike. “We’ll have an organizer in the district of every Blue Dog Democrat,” said HCAN campaign manager Richard Kirsch of the conservative Democrats. I guess that is all good. But it would be nice if for $40 million dollars they supported something without pre-compromising.

What it could have been:

What is weird, is that they seem to truly believe that the message that will resonate with the American people is our single-payer message that the insurance companies are the problem. That is the out front message to pull people in. Co-opting our message. To get people’s contact info and donations. Brilliant. Glad we could help. You are welcome. 

But… gee… all that money, and no real call to specific action, except to compromise and take single payer off thetable without even a fight. Now, imagine if they did everything the same, but also included in their $40 million blitz an option ask Americans to on call their Congresspeople to sign onto HR-676.

Imagine. Yes we can.